A post by Moojan Momen and Jason Pack on the Newsweek site raises serious questions about the current flurry of activity aimed at securing trade deals with Iran, a country whose human rights record is seriously flawed. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.
In July this year, British Airways will relaunch six weekly direct flights from London to Tehran. And if you sit in first class, you are likely to see well-heeled Western executives jetting off to try to establish joint ventures or sell their high-end technologies in what is one of the only remaining lucrative and relatively unpenetrated markets.
Just this week it was the turn of President Matteo Renzi of Italy to take two hundred Italian business leaders to Iran. In preparation for the trade mission, Italian letting agencies have extended a 5 Billion Euro credit line to the country.
Similarly reliant on government financing to prime the pump, the American aeronautical giant Boeing has just entered into negotiations with Iran, hoping to land its highest profile deal of the decade.
This flurry of activity stems from Iran and the West settling their long-running nuclear dispute when the multilateral negotiations were signed on 2 April 2015. The multilateral sanctions were then lifted on 16 January 2016.
Iran has enormous oil and mineral wealth and is, therefore, set to become a large and rapidly expanding market just at a time when the most of the world’s economies seem to have stalled.
The Situation in Iran
But doing business in Iran raises the ethics question. Businesses like to demonstrate that they are not only profitable but also benefit the community. Many feel compelled to show that they are green, gender equitable, ethnically diverse, philanthropic—and ethical. . . . . . .
Many accuse Iran of human rights abuses, even “crimes against humanity,” also identifying it as one of the world’s most corrupt societies. They accuse it of genocide, ethnic and cultural cleansing, torture and human rights abuses against journalists, lawyers, women and ethnic and religious minorities.
In the freedom indexes published by Freedom House, Iran scores in the lowest two categories in all areas: civil liberties, political rights, press freedom and Internet freedom and is in the lowest quartile of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
The U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, International Labour Organization and Special Rapporteurs have repeatedly reported over the last 30 years their “deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “over reports of targeted violence and discrimination against minority groups”. Governments and organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch express grave concerns, while the World Bank reports Iran among the world’s worst three countries for the legal position of women.